Building community in a changing world

December 1, 2021

Relationship Maintenance

I’ve blogged before about how my wife & I regularly do a check-in exercise that we’ve slightly modified from what Jonathan Foust has taught me. It’s incredibly powerful and helps to keep us connected. This 45-minute dharma talk from Jonathan provides great insights into the nature of romantic relationships. Here’s some of the points he makes:

– Jonathan is always careful to note that he’s not a couples therapist, but he does know communication techniques that can be helpful.

– Many harbor the mistaken belief that by meeting someone, they can make us whole & happy.

– Yet, a key to a successful relations is understanding yourself. The Imago therapy model is that our wounds tend to show up in our relationships. So knowing your own wounds is crucial to understanding whether a potential partner can help you work with your issues.

– You need to know the wounds of your partner. Then try to have empathy by reversing your roles to understand the wounds. That doesn’t solve everything but allows you to slow down in a conscious way.

– Know that what you can’t communicate with your partner controls the relationship. If there is something you can’t communicate, you are being restrained by that. Take responsibility for what you’re feeling and what you’re not sharing.

– At the 19-minute mark, Jonathan explains the check-in exercise that I love so much. Without a designated time to check in with your partner, it’s so easy to let things slip and not truly connect. As part of this, make it known how you pull away from the relationship. Share your red flags.

– Relationships are hard work to keep them awake & alive but it’s the fast lane to being awake. No relationships, no relationship problems. But then you’re missing out on this big opportunity to grow yourself. But it’s important to pull from the communications toolbox to do the work.

Fortunately, my wife & I learned about Imago therapy nearly 30 years ago, early in our marriage. I credit it with providing us with a conflict resolution mechanism that might have saved our marriage. I can’t imagine what we would have done without it. Our society unfortunately doesn’t teach us these things in school – the simple basics about how to maintain a relationship. I’ll get off my soapbox.

Anyway, check out the books written by Harville Hendrix, the therapist who invented Imago therapy. There are couples therapists around the world that specialize in Imago…